In the B2B space, building trust doesn’t happen overnight. You have to take time to know your buyers individually, anticipate their needs, and offer solutions that resonate with everyone on the buying committee. This “account-centric” approach also fuels growth: 84% of business buyers are more likely to buy from a company
that demonstrates an understanding of their business goals.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is all about putting your buyers at the center of every interaction. Valpak
is a direct marketing company specializing in print, mobile, online, and coupon advertising. It launched an ABM strategy to unify its internal teams, target the right accounts for its business, and engage the buying committees for each one.
In this Q&A, Valpak Director of Marketing Strategy and Operations Phillip Sobczak shares how the company uses Salesforce Customer 360 to drive its ABM efforts.
How does Salesforce help you maintain a complete view of your customers?
We use the Salesforce CRM
to compile account data into a single, unified view that we can share across our teams. It’s how we can approach every buyer as a unified front and make more informed decisions. Our reps log all of their account touchpoints, giving marketing a high-level view of where the account is within the lifecycle and how likely they are to convert. Marketers can then initiate campaigns to push relevant content to every buyer within an account.
We also integrate Pardot
, Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation platform, to give our internal teams access to campaign information and results. With Sales Cloud and Pardot working together, we can see all the data points associated with an account and pinpoint exactly where they are in the sales journey. Then, our marketing team lets sales reps know exactly when to target the buyers and the best content for engaging them.
When it comes to ongoing account management, we pull CRM data to gauge what customers are ordering, the last time they placed an order, and how their engagement compares to the previous year. This gives sales the visibility they need to have the right conversations with each account.
Simply put, without a unified view of our accounts and the buyers who represent those accounts, our ABM strategy would never get off the ground.
How do you use Salesforce to engage a buying committee?
The bulk of our customers are small and mid-size businesses in local communities, and they range from sit-down restaurants to nail salons and dental practices. For the most part, our buyers are owners and office managers. If it’s a mid-sized company with multiple locations or a more sophisticated structure, we may see marketing and director titles.
“To manage all of these relationships well, we start with Sales Cloud. It’s the backbone of our ABM strategy.”
Whatever their role, they typically share the same pain point: lack of time. Their business may be seasonal or cyclical in nature, so our messages have to be clear and concise.
Another pain point we see is a lack of marketing knowledge, especially in smaller businesses. In these cases, they’re hungry for information, and we double as consultants to help them think of ways to drive more traffic to their location.
To manage all of these relationships well, we start with Sales Cloud. It’s the backbone of our ABM strategy. We use it to get high-level oversight of the entire customer journey and see how an account is progressing through the lifecycle. This knowledge helps us decide which solutions are best for their needs and the type of content that will be most relevant to them.
We use list views in Sales Cloud to deliver the right calls to action at the right time to our reps. When should you start calling on this lead? When do you follow up with this account? We do a lot of analysis to answer questions like these, so sales has the visibility they need to move each account forward.
If Sales Cloud is the backbone of our ABM operation, then Pardot is the brains.
As soon as a customer enters the system, we gather data and draw insights from their actions. We then create lists of accounts based on their behavior and deliver the most relevant content according to the category they fall in — new lead, current customer, or reactivation. We can also tailor messaging based on their level of marketing expertise and share more educational content with the accounts who’ve expressed an interest.
In addition to Sales Cloud and Pardot, we also use Configuration, Pricing, and Quoting (CPQ
) to track the entire sales process in one place, from lead nurturing to invoicing. This helps our teams collaborate to deliver the best service possible.
What Salesforce products do you use to help your internal teams work better together?
Before we implemented our ABM strategy, all of us worked in our own lanes. Marketing, sales, and service operated as separate entities sharing little information. It wasn’t uncommon to see a sales rep with a credit card number or phone number written on pieces of paper.
When we decided to invest in Salesforce as part of our ABM efforts, we knew it would only succeed if every team was on board. We made the Salesforce platform a pillar of our business model and trained everyone on the entire system, from acquisition to retention to billing. We held a “Salesforce Day” to teach everyone about the platform and how to leverage it across lead acquisition, customer retention, and more.
“We made the Salesforce platform a pillar of our business model and trained everyone on the entire system, from acquisition to retention to billing. ”
This created a new level of transparency throughout the company and encouraged more collaboration across all three teams. Now, when someone logs into Salesforce, they can see data from Sales Cloud, Pardot, and CPQ all in one place. Everyone can communicate with other team members directly within the platform. As a result, leads move through the funnel quicker, and we can close deals faster — sometimes within hours.
As ABM strategies evolve over the next few years, how do you see Salesforce playing a role in helping B2B businesses execute ABM strategies?
The future of marketing is conversational. Consumers are turning to mobile more and more each day and want to talk to a real person instead of filling out a form. To address this shift, ABM will need to focus on automatically identifying those who visit your site without the need for a form to gauge inbound demand.
For Valpak, this means continuing to drill down into our personas and refining the process, as well as our messaging and content, to meet the customer where they are. We’ll explore integrating other platforms like Einstein
and Pardot to improve our omnichannel approach and increase our ROI from marketing and lead generation efforts.
Ultimately, ABM boils down to trial and error. Your customer is dynamic, so your strategy must be too. Even the most successful strategies need to be tweaked, so take the time to test and adjust, again and again. A platform like Salesforce makes this process more accurate and efficient by collecting data in one place and allowing you to get the insights you need to make your strategy work.
- Read Mandy Febus’s blog to learn how Valpak’s account-based marketing strategy for small business engaged new and existing customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Listen to the Marketing Cloudcast mini-series “How to Speak ABM” to discover the accounts you want to target for your Ideal Customer Profile.